On October 11-13, more than 100 people from Jesuit institutions across the world gathered at Seattle University in Seattle, WA for the 34th Alpha Sigma Nu Triennial Conference. Sponsored by Alpha Sigma Nu (ASN), the only academic honor society to bear the name “Jesuit,” the conference drew student leaders from 31 ASN chapters; faculty advisers and coordinators from 18 chapters; and leaders of 11 alumni clubs.
This year’s Triennial featured a robust agenda that included an opening keynote address by Seattle University’s president, Rev. Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., on discerning the future of Alpha Sigma Nu as the Jesuit honor society. Subsequent presentations focused on internacionalization, diversity and inclusion, all of which were followed by opportunities for individual and group reflections. Separate breakout sessions were held for chapter leaders, faculty advisers and alumni club leaders.
The conference presented ample opportunities for students to meet and share best practices with each other on managing the ASN chapters at their home institutions. Stephen Gretchen, a senior and vice president of the ASN chapter at Wheeling Jesuit University, said, “It was truly a blessing to attend the Alpha Sigma Nu Triennial in Seattle this past weekend. The conference was full of eye-opening presentations and realities that are all at our fingertips as members of the society. Alpha Sigma Nu inductees are wonderful people interconnected throughout the world, doing purposeful work with the Jesuit values on display that were instilled at their respective universities. It is a network that I am glad to be a part of."
Over the past few years, ASN has expanded internationally: in addition to the United States, chapters can now be found in Canada, South Korea and Spain. Ignacio Garrido Cruz came as a representative of the newest chapter, Loyola University Andalucia in Seville, where he is also working as an assistant in the office of international relations. He said, “When we talk about Alpha Sigma Nu members, we are talking about people who are natural collaborators in the Jesuit mission. It was very inspiring, during the Triennial, to see all of these students working together and collaborating for the unique purpose of figuring out ways to make their communities, universities and the world a better place. I found the internationalization and diversity of Alpha Sigma Nu to be one of the main themes during the conference, and that participants seemed to be excited and encouraged by the idea of having a more global honor society of Jesuit colleges and universities.”
In addition to his roles at Loyola Andalucia, Garrido Cruz is working on communications outreach for the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU), which was officially established this summer during a global assembly of Jesuit university leaders in Deusto, Spain. IAJU was the subject of a presentation during the Triennial: together with Joe Orlando, director of the Center for Jesuit Education at Seattle University, ASN’s executive director, Kate Gaertner, discussed how ASN can become an important partner in the growth and development of IAJU. “The challenge of the Deusto Assembly energized the 2018 ASN Triennial. Not only did ASN’s leaders strategize for their chapter and club programs for the year, they were challenged by our speakers to embrace their Jesuit education as a call to service, and to see themselves as part of the global Jesuit network…the network of Jesuit educated alumni mobilized by IAJU and poised to be change-makers for the marginalized.”
[Edited version, this article was originally published by Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.]
Photo: Alpha Sigma Nu